I think if we were honest, deep down we like rules because ultimately we desire to be in control. When we have rules we can choose to break them, bend them, or obey them…we decide and we feel so in charge. We even feel holy if we feel like we are doing so well compared to others. It’s always easy to find someone who’s struggling a bit more than yourself and then compare and feel self-righteous.
The Pharisee’s in the days of Jesus were called out by him as hypocrites. They added more and more rules to the basic ones that the Lord had given to His people. They misconstrued the law, which was given to protect and instead they placed heavy burdens on the people. The law was given to point them towards God. However with the many additional rules it produced legalistic, blind people who were constantly looking at themselves with eyes that could not see spiritually…they missed who Jesus was! Their Messiah.
I am sad to admit that I think the modern church has often erred in the same way. Many churches have a lack of freedom in how their members apply the scripture to their lives. There is a warped sense of application that is implied that if you truly understood the original text, you would realize that you should be doing such and such.
There is much fear and covering up…because the church might not be a safe place to be real. The Holy Scripture becomes a rigid set of rules that only an educated pastor can properly interpret. This results in insecure people that are totally dependent on the pastor’s “authority” to confirm if they are headed in the right direction. This is spiritual abuse.
The Bible teaches plainly that Jesus came to set people free and when they enter into a personal relationship with him, they are indwelled with his Holy Spirit. It is an intimate relationship like a marriage. The Holy Spirit is called “the counselor” and he does counsel us.
But we have to get our eyes off of man. We have to get our eyes off of ourselves and off of the pastor and everyone else we keep comparing ourselves to. We need to get our eyes onto Jesus. We need to trust him that he gave us the Holy Spirit for a purpose.
Church is a place when we should be encouraged to look to Jesus. We should be encouraged in that intimate walk and closeness with the Holy Spirit. And if we are worshipping in a place where we are feeling insecure and not encouraged, it is our responsibility to leave and find a healthier place.
We have to tear down the rules and relinquish control. We need to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 says, “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit”.
This was always my “don’t get drunk” scripture. Do you hear the rule it became? I realized this scripture is saying much more. When someone is intoxicated, they have let go of control, they have given themselves over to the alcohol. They will say and do things that they would never say or do if they were stone cold sober.
I think this verse is saying we need to be intoxicated with the Holy Spirit! Give up the control. Let those plans change when He brings that needy person to your day. Let’s give ourselves over to the Holy Spirit. We will say and do things that we would never do if we are stone cold in control/sober.
Jesus told His followers in Matthew 10:19-20 “When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”
I am grateful to be in a grace filled church that constantly points me to my own intimate personal relationship with Jesus. They encourage me to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I am slowly but surely healing. My spirit is detoxing. I’m starting to see the poison in the man-made “unwritten” rules that I’ve thought made Jesus pleased with me.
Instead now I am realizing I am His beloved and Jesus is pleased with me simply because He loves me….UNCONDITIONALLY. And that is something of which I have no control over and for that I am thankful.